(KERO) — COVID-19's grip on the United States is shrinking.
Just over 16,000 people are currently hospitalized with the virus -- the lowest number since the pandemic started.
That's according to the Department of Health and Human Services which adds COVID-19 patients in the ICU are decreasing as well.
COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked this January during the omicron variant surge.
Still, despite the drop in hospitalizations officials say many are still stressed partly because of staffing issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that since August 2020 more than 4.5 million people have been hospitalized for COVID-19.
More than a third of those patients were at least 70-years-old.